Friday, February 27, 2009

Squid Dissection Day aka Calamari Calamity


Suction cups and painted nails.
Girl scientists rule!
We are finally to the fishes in my Marine Science classes ... my favorite animals ... excluding Labrador Retrievers of course.
Fish rule too!
We did have to dip back in to the invertebrates this week as my preserved squid did not come in until just after we finished the mollusca unit.
They were delayed by budget cuts that threatened to take away my entire, meager, supply budget.
In the end, the purchase order for squid, perch, and dogfish was approved.
So, we revisited the Cephalopods even though we had already switched to an OsteichthyCondrichthyAgnathaesque way of thinking.


A squid opened for inspection.
At a glance you can see the dark ink sac in the center and the gills on either side of it. This is the same species that most restaurant calamari is made from.
You may eat calamari, but I'm not much of a Cephalopod muncher. Once on a shrimp boat, I had squid in spaghetti sauce that wasn't too bad, but then, almost anything in spaghetti sauce tastes good ... especially if you are hungry.

I also had a live octopus escape in my Gremlin during my college days, but I eventually captured it and cooked it back in the dorm. (I had captured the octopus on a dive off of Destin)
My Top Chef skills were weaker then, and it was a bit like chewing garden hose. Unlike broccoli or beer, I just never made the necessary return trips to acquire the taste.
They just aren't on my list of desired seafood, but they make great bait for things I do like to eat.


Above is a short video clip of one of my student dissection teams opening the eye of the squid to extract the lens.

In other news ...
Tonight is the annual FFA Food Festival.
I will be boiling two bushels of Florida grown sweet corn in a giant pot.
You can rest assured that no squid will be consumed at this redneck fundraiser, but we will be chowing down on some mighty fine critters and plants.
Yes, I will take my camera.

16 comments:

Prem Subrahmanyam said...

I have eaten calamari that was similar to the "garden hose" experience that you refer to. I have also eaten quite excellent calamari at Carraba's Italian Restaurant that was so tender-crispy, you hardly realized there was molluscan meat in them.

---Prem
curator,
The Florida Native Orchids Blog

Sandcastle Momma said...

We haven't seen octopus around these parts in a long time - not since there were Gremlins on the road LOL
I have to agree they are best used as bait for tastier marine munchies!

kathy a. said...

you picked photo one just because of the ironic t-shirt and painted nails -- go ahead, admit it! and that's ok; science doesn't care. but she may not be as devoted to the t-shirt, thinking about her scientific interests, and maybe thoughts about who she wants to be.

threecollie said...

Boy does this post resonate. I am being force fed Latin names of fish every day and every night....nocomis micropogon actually means something to me now! I am so glad, so very, very glad that Alan's class has moved on to amphibians!

CHEF TROLL said...

That's a darned big pot. Squid is BAIT. PERIOD!

Floridacracker said...

Prem,
I just can't get past the fishy taste of squid.

Kathy A,
I only took a few shots and was so focused on the tentacles that it wasn't until they were on the computer that I noticed the irony.
What an odd brand name ...

3C,
He's lucky to have such a willing study buddy!

Troll,
On this we agree wholeheartedly. My pot really is huge. I'll post a pic of it this weekend. The Food Fest was a huge success and everybody loved my corn in the husk.

Aunty Belle said...

Heh...youse a stitch.

But, ah, why's ya surprised that an octo got loose in a Gremlin? The Gremlin jes' livin' up to its name.

First squid I ever had was at Pappas Restaurant in Tarpon Springs. Fried in a light batter. I was a kid on a bidnes trip wif' mah Daddy who thought it would be funny to see mah reaction, but I jes' chewed on...and on...and on.

Yore students is lucky to have ya!

tsiya said...

Well, it isn't as chewy as rattlesnake, and you don't have to pick out the bones!

caroline said...

Boy, does Florida sweet corn sound delish! At the moment, it is 1 above zero, snowing and no sweet corn of any sort would survive in the Black Hills tonight.
Loved doing dissections with my middle school kids, we do physical science in 9th grade. Some great explosions and purple smoke goes a long way with those guys though.

Cathy S. said...

That Cruel Girl brand is for cowgirls. Sold in western shops. I am not sure why the name was chosen, but the shirts sometimes say something about cowgirls don't need cowboys. They must treat them like they do squid. LOL!

Doug Taron said...

In all of the dissecting that I've done or supervised, I've never opened a squid before.

I don't hate calamari, but it doesn't do much for me. I find it bland and just slightly more tender than rubber bands. Fried it's OK, but if I'm going to consume all of the fat and calories of fried food, I'd rather have something tastier.

roger said...

in my salad days squid was fish bait. now calamari is upscale restaurant fare. it doesn't have a lot of taste but i do like it.

nice dissection video. i guess you couldn't go to a fish market for specimens.

edifice rex said...

I have a Cruel Girl sticker on my hardhat! I love it! and it always draws a lot of comments from the new guys. lol! I just let 'em wonder.

Oh, and I absolutely love squid fired, sauteed, even raw in sushi! Yum!

Floridacracker said...

Aunty,
I ate there way back when too, but I had shrimp ... and of course, Greek Salad.

Tsiya,
An experience I've never had.

Caroline,
It was mighty good! Cold and rainy here today, so it's not all fun and games!
A little whizbang does go along way with the MS crowd.


Cathy S,
Yeah, I see it in Tractor Supply alot.

Doug,
Ditto on your last statement!


roger,
no, it's against state law to dissect fresh stuff. That creates a huge budget burden because as soon as you stamp "Educational Supply" on a product the price triples.


Annie,
Clever girl.

Barbara said...

FYI, Did you know that they have a place in ST. Augustine called Lab Connections that sells all of those mentioned in your post and much more that you can purchase for lab and science. The have a Website and are located in Davis Industrial Park. It is a large warehouse of all items needed for Science class. Lab Connections, Educational, Lab and Scientific Supplies. 904-824-8446. They will ship or you can pick up. Roger is the owners name and a very nice man.
http://www.labconusa.com/

Knowing that you still make visit's to St. Augustine I thought you might want to check it out in case you are ever in need.

I am Female FFA Alumni and also loved Science.

Lynn said...

I just think it stinks that important FUN tools for learning are the hardest to get. Yes these things ARE just as important as books!! Actually more so. You learn more with ALL of your senses than just using one on a 2 dimensional page.

But I'm preaching to the choir.

Coming as a past student and a current parent, you are my kind of teacher!